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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

1993-94 Winnipeg Jets Alexei Zhamnov Jersey

Alexei Zhamnov began his career with four games for Dynamo Moscow in the Soviet Championship league in the 1988-89 season. He became a full time member of the team in 1989-90 with 17 points in 43 games. Dynamo would go on to win the league championship for the first time since 1954 and break a 13 year stranglehold on the title by CSKA Moscow, better known as Central Red Army, thanks in part to the departures of some key Red Army players who were allowed to leave for North America and the NHL for the first time.

During the season the 19-year-old Zhamnov also competed for the Soviet Union during the 1990 World Junior Championships. He excelled with 6 goals in 7 games as his first international experienced resulted in a silver medal.

His performance raised his profile, and with the new world order that now allowed players to leave the Soviet Union and come to North America, Zhamnov was drafted in the fourth round by the Winnipeg Jets, who had a history of looking to Europe for talent.

Zhamnov, a center, would play two more successful seasons for Dynamo, as he raised his point total to 28 in 1990-91 and then 36 in 1991-92 as Dynamo would win the league championship for the second and third times in a row to close out the Soviet era.

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Zhamnov won three consecutive championships with Dynamo Moscow

Internationally, Zhamnov made his debut at the World Championships in 1991, scoring 4 goals and 9 points in 10 games to win a bronze medal in his first senior level tournament. Later that same fall, he would participate in the 1991 Canada Cup tournament.

With the Soviet Union in the process of dissolving in early 1992, Zhamnov made his Olympic debut with what was called the Unified Team, which was players from the former Soviet countries minus the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They rolled through the tournament with a 7-1 record, earning Zhamnov a gold medal.

Zhamnov next competed at the 1992 World Championships, but a level of disarray began to set in during the early days of the independent Russian program and the team failed to medal.

For the 1992-93 season, Zhamnov made the move to North America to join Winnipeg at the age of 22, confirming the pipeline of talent from Russia was now flowing, as the first wave of Soviet players finally allowed to leave were all veterans, such as Vladimir Krutov (29), Igor Larionov (29) and Vladislav Fetisov (31). Not counting those who defected at a young age, such as Alexander Mogliny and Sergei Fedorov, the departure of Pavel Bure from the Soviet Union at the age of 20 was a sign that the rich vein of Russian talent was now there to be mined by the NHL, as even just three years earlier Zhamnov would have not been allowed to leave Dynamo, and certainly not with his best days ahead of him.

Unlike some other  European transfers, he required no time in the minors to adjust to the rugged style of the NHL game, which was played on smaller rinks than he was used to in Europe. Doing his part to fit in with the high-flying Jets by scoring 25 goals and 72 points in 68 games, which included scoring his first career goal on this date in 1992 in a 4-4 tie against the Los Angeles Kings in Winnipeg.

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NHL rookie Zhamnov while with the Jets

He would repeat that feat in 1993-94 with 71 points in 61 games. Once the labor issues of the 1994-95 season were resolved, Zhamnov was on form, registering his only 30 goal season, which included a five goal game on April 1, 1995, on his way to 65 points in just 48 games to lead the team in scoring and finish third overall in the NHL behind only Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros.

Changes were in store for Zhamnov prior to the 1996-97 season. First, the Jets franchise was relocated to Arizona, where it became the Phoenix Coyotes. Then in mid August, Zhamnov was traded, along with another player and a first round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jeremy Roenick.

Prior to the start of his first season in Chicago, Zhamnov returned to the international stage, playing for Russia at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

He had a fine first season with Chicago, putting up his typical 20 goals and 52 points. For the 1997-98 season, he again had a 20 goal season with 21. Additionally, he returned to the Olympics for the first time in six years as the NHL took a break in February to allow its stars to compete in Japan, from where he returned with a silver medal.

His consistency remained for the next two seasons, with 20 goals and 61 points in 1998-99 and 23 goals and 60 points in 1999-00.  Following that season he returned to the World Championships for only the second time and first since 1991.

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Zhamnov was dealt to Chicago for the 1996-97 season

His eight for eight streak of 20 goal seasons came to an end when Zhamnov was limited to just 13 goals for the 2000-01 season. He rebounded with his best season since 1995 when in 2001-02 he scored 22 goals and 67 points in 77 games, which earned him a spot in his only NHL All-Star Game. During the season he made his third Olympic appearance, earning a bronze medal at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

With the departure of Tony Amonte, Zhamnov was named the Blackhawks team captain for the 2002-03 season. After playing 23 games for the Blackhawks in 2003-04, Zhamnov was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers where he would play 20 regular season games. After making the playoffs just twice with Winnipeg and only once with Chicago, the run to the Conference Finals with the Flyers was by far his deepest run at the Stanley Cup as he added 14 points in 18 games.

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Zhamnov was named the Blackhawks captain in 2002

With the NHL season lost to another labor dispute in 2004-05,  Zhamnov stayed active my playing for Vityaz Chekov in the Russian second division.

He returned to the NHL for the 2005-06 season, signing with the Boston Bruins as a free agent. He suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and later an ankle injury in January, which not only limited him to just 24 games with Boston, but the ankle injury prevented him from playing in his fourth Olympics in February, as he was named to the Russian team for the 2006 Games.

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Zhamnov's final games were with Boston

He retired from the NHL with 807 games played 249 goals and 719 points. Internationally, he finished with a World Junior silver medal, a World Championship bronze and gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals. He is now the General Manager of Vityaz Chekov in the KHL.

Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Winnipeg Jets Alexei Zhamnov jersey from his first NHL club. The Jets adopted this style, rare in the NHL with single color numbers, for the 1990-91 season and wore it through their rest of their time in Winnipeg.

Patches worn on this jersey were the NHL 75th Anniversary patch in 1991-92, the Stanley Cup Centennial patch (in two versions) and for their final ten games as the Jets, a Cherished Memories patch. The Jets were the only team to wear a version of the Stanley Cup Centennial patch without white trim, which they did for the early part of the season. During the second half of the season they got a new set of jerseys which now had the same patch with the white trim as the rest of the NHL.

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Winnipeg Jets 1993-94 jersey photo Winnipeg Jets 1993-94 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991 Soviet Union Alexei Zhamnov jersey as worn for the World Championships in Finland when Zhamnov participated in his first World Championships prior to the demise of the Soviet Union.

After wearing their stoic red jerseys with white lettering, suddenly in 1989 Tackla produced this new style for the Soviet Union with it's bright yellow accent color, angled striping (pre-dating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim's first NHL angled striping by four years) and drop shadowed front cresting, giving the Soviets a dash of flair never seen before.

This style was worn through the breakup of the Soviet Union - and beyond, as this style, minus the CCCP lettering, was worn when the team competed as the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics.

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Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Chicago Blackhawks Alexei Zhamnov jersey. This jersey is adorned with the Blackhawks 75th Anniversary patch on the right chest and Zhamnov's assistant captain's A on the left.

Making this jersey unique is the addition of the 2000 Hockey Hall of Fame Game, a regular season contest held annually since 1999 on the Friday before the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies the following Monday between the host Toronto Maple Leafs and a varying opponent every year with both teams wear the special Hall of Fame Game patch for the occasion to kick of the Hall of Fame weekend festivities.

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Chicago Blackhawks 2000-01 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 2000-01 B jersey.jpg

With style and flair, Zhamnov scores his fifth goal of the night against the Kings.

Here, Zhamnov pulls of the same move twice during his rookie season.

Finally, an interview with Zhamnov while he was General Manager of Atlant Mytishchi with English translations.

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